Yesterday morning, Chris had to go out for a dentist appointment, so Pookster and I would be home together. Sunday is usually my vegetable cooking day, so I made sure to get her involved in the cooking and prep. Plus, I had defrosted the shrimp stock I got through my local Buy-Nothing group, as well as kabocha squash I had roasted before we left for Australia, and I wanted to use that to make kabocha squash soup. Kaia was involved in the full process, as she watched me saute all the vegetables for the soup base and simmer the stock. She watched with intrigue as I poured the hot mixture into the blender to fully puree. And as I poured the pureed soup into my Instant Pot to reheat and simmer, while adding some frozen coconut milk cubes, she asked, “Want some? Want some?” So I gave her a spoonful of soup, which she happily grabbed and shoved into her mouth. She then took it out of her mouth and handed it to me and said, “Mummy have some soup?” But then, she took the spoon back, still with a little soup in it, and ate the rest. She handed the spoon back to me, asking “More?”
At that point, I decided that she could just eat lunch while standing on her little step stool at our kitchen counter. It would change up the context of eating, and she was already enjoying herself so much since I was involving her in the full cooking process. Pookster proceeded to have three decent-sized helpings of kabocha squash soup, a massive amount of freshly blanched and lightly seasoned yu choy (you cai) greens, as well as a handful of Cheerios, which she happened to see on the counter. She decided to use that as “croutons” to add to her soup. Interesting. As she ate the soup, she kept on saying “yummy soup, yummy soup.” And as she got closer to the end of her bowl twice, she asked for “more?” And once she was done with the soup and moved onto her greens, she always indicated she wanted me to cut the long strands of yu choy into smaller, bite sized pieces, and told me whether she wanted the stem part or the leaf part… or both. She finished her lunch with blueberries and strawberries.
While Kaia is obviously tiring at this two-year-old stage, with her demands and stubbornness, as well as her full out toddler tantrums that result in her body being splayed out all over the floor in a silent (or loud) rage, enjoying these moments with her always is a reminder to me how fleeting each stage is. It is so sweet to see her caring side, like when she wants to offer me a taste of something she thinks is delicious. I also love that she’s always curious about what’s going on at heights she cannot always see, whether it’s at the kitchen counter or above the stove. I do hope that she will love and embrace cooking, as well, and not just want to outsource it to someone else. Sometimes when I am cooking with her, I am reminded of all the delicious things my grandma used to make that no one can quite recreate anymore since she’s gone, and none of her recipes were ever documented. They are only a distant memory to those of us who were privileged enough to try her pro-level Cantonese cooking.